Laura Eubanks’ Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design

Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity is a celebrity succulent garden designer in Southern California. Her “Succulent Tip of the Day” sent her popularity skyrocketing on social media, and her YouTube channel recently exceeded 4,000,000 views. Here, Laura shares her Top Ten Tips for Succulent Garden Design. The photos are from two videos I made with Laura: “How to Create a Succulent Pocket Garden” (12:36 min.) and  “Succulent Garden Design Secrets” (3:40).

“Whether you’re doing a 5-foot-square garden or five acres, the same techniques apply,” Laura says. Meet Laura and see her in action at the Succulent Extravaganza, Fri-Sat Sept. 28-29 at Succulent Gardens Nursery in Northern CA.

1. Create elevations. Nature isn’t flat. Mimic nature by moving the dirt around to create hills and valleys.

2. Rocks ROCK! Second only to succulents in horticultural awesomeness, well placed rocks, pebbles and boulders can take a succulent garden from good to spectacular.

3. Remember to plant your boulders by creating a cradle in the soil. Sinking your boulders gives the illusion that they’ve been there for a few million years.

4. Connect your succulent pocket plantings by running river rock through the design in ribbons.

5. Choose plants that are zone appropriate and favor your microclimates. When in doubt, ask!

6. Know how they grow. Stage your plants according to size. Taller in the back, groundcovers in front.

7. Got drainage? Succulent thrive in poor soil and will reward benign neglect by deepening in color. Just remember, no matter your soil type, it must drain well.

8. Plant cuttings in cooler months or in a partly sunny or semi-shaded area of the gardens to avoid sunburn.

9. When your succulents get leggy, simply pull them out by the roots, clip stems to desired length, discard roots and reset rosettes in a hole deep enough to stabilize the plant. If your succulent cutting stands up, you’ve done your job!

10. Most importantly, be bold, take risks and be creative! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so plant and design what appeals to you and makes you happy.


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Obtain my comprehensive guide to succulent landscaping, Designing with Succulents (2nd ed.).

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Holleran on August 15, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Debra, thank you for this very interesting story of Laura’s life and talents. I live in France and was introducted to you and succulents as a gardening option when my daughter from Scottsdale, who has a landscape gardening degree, gave me your book “Succulents Simplified” along with your “Sensational Succulents” coloring book as a present. I have since added “Succulent Container Gardens” to my gardening library collection. While the Val de Loire area of France where I live is not a fit for outdoor succulent gardens due to our wet and cold winters, I have created a selection of succulent container gardens, including one of miniture cacti, that have inspired neighbors and friends. Our temperatures are warming here in the center of France as in many areas in the world, and because of that, and the new trend towards using plants which can sustain drier climates, I am finding more offerings at the nurseries and plant fairs I haunt. Thank you for sharing your advice and talents with those of us outside San Diego, CA. and the U.S. When asked how to care for succulents or cacti, I often point people to your website and sometimes lend them your books — if I know they will return them in good shape.. You have added to my continued passions for gardening and art. As we say here in France, Bravo pour un travail bien fait!

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